Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Retired Hurt

J.M.S. Pearce
United Kingdom

Poet’s statement: Lines on retirement written years ago in a transient mood of reflection, not depression.


Retired hurt1

What is this life with time to spare,
There’s too much time to stand and stare.

No breakfast rushed, no traffic race
No bureaucrat’s unsmiling face.

No prim grey suit worn everyday,
No shiny shoes your pride display.

No ceaseless calls on telephone,
Endless demands. At last alone.

No “Can’t you do this, yesterday.”
You now can idle the livelong day.

There’s much to do, you’ll not be bored,
Old friends renew, too long ignored.

Past hobbies sought, with grim intent,
Will pass the hours without lament.

Seek ventures new, fresh pastures find,
Ideas compete to fill the mind.

But, old bones ache, disused joints creak,
Inertia reigns, recall is weak.

Where hides that grasp, where is that flare,
Where is that zest beyond compare?

Distractions: music, theatre, sport,
Enthral but briefly, pleasure thwart.

Less fevered passion, excitement dulled,
Your former joys seem now annulled.

The downcast gaze, enfeebled mind,
Forlorn, unwanted, left behind.

The clock’s tick slow, time labours on,
Indifference reigns where fervour won.

“Dejected, down,” the young declare.
They have no time to stand and stare.

cricket bat
Photography by Andrew Blight



  1. A cricketing metaphor when a batsman has to retire from his role in the game because of injury or illness until recovered.


J.M.S. PEARCE, MD, FRCP (London) is emeritus consultant neurologist in the Department of Neurology at the Hull Royal Infirmary, England. All correspondence to: 304 Beverley Road, Anlaby, East Yorkshire, HU10 7BG, England.


Highlighted in Frontispiece Spring 2012 – Volume 4, Issue 2
Spring 2012  |  Sections  |  Poetry

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.